Swiss league put on hold after clubs reject closed doors option

BERN (Reuters) - The Swiss soccer league (SFL) has been put on hold until at least March 23 because of the coronavirus outbreak after the clubs rejected the possibility of playing matches behind closed doors.

Switzerland, which has had at least two dozen confirmed cases, introduced a ban on Friday on events expected to draw 1,000 people or more until March 15 in an effort to combat the coronavirus.

In response, the Swiss League called off all matches in the top two divisions and Saturday and Sunday and it has now extended the ban to the international break at the end of March.

“The option of holding the matches without spectators was also discussed,” said the SFL in a statement. “The clubs decided against this step for economic reasons and because there are currently still enough alternative dates available.”

The Swiss league has two divisions of 10 teams each with an average attendance of just over 11,000 in the top flight.

Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar